We were just barely settling down from the recent attack on the Kenyan Police Station in Pandanguo village, about 15km from Witu Center, Lamu county, Kenya, which left 3 police officers dead and 2 seriously injured, when followed the news of the horrific beheading of about 9 people on farmland called Jima, 2 km away from Pandanguo and about 17 km from Witu.
Some of those killed were significant people to some of our Christians. Others were
members of our Christian community.
Since then, most people in Witu center and its adjacent villages have been filled with anxiety. But as is this maize harvesting time, no one has shown any inclination to run for safety. What with the famine of the last two years caused by drought still fresh in their memories and being enticed by the promising bountiful harvest likely to come from their farms by the end of this month of July 2017, our people vowed to stay put in their farms despite the Al Shabaab brutality.
They would rather die at the hands of the enemy than die of hunger.
In response to their determination., the Kenyan Defence Force (KDF), under the leadership of the new interim Minister for Internal Security, just about a week in office now, is also determined to save them from the enemy (Al Shabaab).
In the early hours of Tuesday the 11th of July 2017, the KDF soldiers accompanied by local chiefs, summoned the people of the farmlands situated at the Boni Forest and asked them to evacuate to Witu center. In the dead of night without further notice women, children, young boys and girls, and men of various ages gathered their belongings and headed for Witu. One could feel sad at the suckling mothers with their little babies out in the cold.
The only really safe haven they could think of was the church at Witu. Before 7:00 pm we had received about 91 people including children. Our Witu team responded by granting them a place to sleep in our Primary School. We provided them with water, food and other basic necessities, including pots for cooking.
This evening is day one for us receiving them. We will see what tomorrow will bring.
I appreciate our Assistant Country Commissioner, whom when I called him, responded immediately and came to console and encourage the people. We also contacted the Red Cross, who have promised to be with us.
Fr Cyprian Taah mhm.